In general, references are those documents/sources cited within the text. It is necessary you relate your work to that of other people. Other work explicitly cited should be listed in the Reference section and referred to in the text using some kind of key.

It is important that you give proper credit to all work that is not strictly your own, and that you do not violate copyright restrictions.

It may be desirable to provide a Bibliography section separately from the reference section. The bibliography lists documents that have informed the text or are otherwise relevant but have not been explicitly cited.
References should be listed in alphabetical order of author’s surname(s), and should give sufficient and accurate publication details.

For example,

Chisom, EJ, Cross, JH. 1990. Reverse Engineering and Design Recovery: A Taxonomy. IEEE Software, 7(1):13-17.  Date, CJ. 2000. An Introduction to Database Systems, 7th Edition. Addison-Wesley. 
are acceptable references.

There are various conventions for quoting references.
For example, you can quote the name of the author and the year of publication, e.g.
For more information see [Chikofsky et al, 1990]. A more detailed description is given by Date [2000].

There are several other variations. For example, some authors prefer to use only the first three or four letters of the name, e.g. [Chi1990] or just to number the references sequentially,

e.g. [3]. It can be helpful to the reader if, for books and other long publications, you specify the page number too, e.g. [Date 2000, p. 23].
Mohammed Yakubu, A long walk from s step, Newswatch (4 September 1989) pg. 56

Whatever convention you choose, be consistent.
Information Services provide a number of leaflets which describe in detail accepted ways of presenting references. For example, guidance on the Harvard Style of citing and referencing may be viewed at

Whatever style of referencing you adopt, it is critical that you are assiduous in acknowledging the sources you have used; failure to do so may lead to suspicions of unfair practice and an investigation into whether or not your work reflects the standards expected of academic research.

Note that it is seldom sufficient to simply “cut and paste” material from other sources. When you take material from someone else’s work, you are doing so because it helps support your argument, or justify decisions you are making.

It is therefore essential to make it clear why you have included material from other sources; in other words, you need to critically assess the work of others, whether it is supporting your position or not:

  • If the material you are citing from another source supports your position, you must explain why it should be trusted. For example, material from a published journal will, normally, have been peer-reviewed and can, therefore, be considered to have some validity, according to subject matter experts. Much of what is published on the Internet cannot be regarded in the same way, however.
  • You will often find that there are conflicting views in the published material; in such cases, you must explain which view you favour and why, before relying on the material to support your position.
  • If other writers have taken a different position to the one you support, you must explain why the reader should accept your ideas rather than those proposed elsewhere.

In summary, you need to ensure that you have clearly assessed the relevance of referenced material to the development of your position, or your argument, and demonstrated that you are justified in taking this material to be authoritative

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